August 10, 2016 -
The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has decreased the maximum number of SIMs that prepaid mobile phone customers can register against their national identity number from 20 SIMs down to just five, according to a report by The Daily Star.
Meanwhile, the telecom regulator has not yet placed a limit on post-paid or corporate users, according to an email sent to telecom operators.
The Commission previously sent out a notice in June stating that prepaid mobile phone customers could register a maximum of 20 SIMs against each national identity number.
The regulator said that even after the biometric SIM registration process, people are still using SIMs for criminal activities and illegal call termination.
Many SIMs were re-registered without the knowledge of the original NID cardholders, officials said. This latest move has been met with a backlash from mobile phone operators, who argue that it will only generate confusion among customers.
In a letter to State Minister for Telecom Tarana Halim, the CEOs of five private mobile phone operators said the move will discourage digitization, and urged the state minister to reconsider the decision.
The letter also explained that many people use multiple devices (mobiles and tablets, 3G modems for their laptops and desktops), along with services like vehicle tracking and smart control for home appliances — all of which require multiple mobile connections.
In addition, many subscribers have to register their children’s mobile connections against their NlDs or for their senior family members who cannot physically visit the registration centres, telecom operators said.
Previously reported, over 100 million mobile phone SIMs have been re-registered with the biometric details of subscribers in Bangladesh, which accounts for more than 76 percent of active mobile phone connections.